The Winds Blow a Little Colder

 


The mushrooms are popping free from the dirt and the temperature has dropped quite a bit these past two weeks. Fall is here and life is good. I visited Michigan last week and saw my family. My brother has returned from a special deployment and it sounds like he is going to take a well deserved break from active duty. My work keeps me occupied and I feel like there's always more to be done, that's just how it goes. A friend of mine came over last night and we talked for a few hours. We'll be going on a trip next month to NYC to watch a concert. We are planning to take the Northeast Regional Amtrak train. I'm looking forward to it since I've never rode a long distance train in the US. I rode a bunch of great trains in Japan when I was there for a couple weeks a few years ago. The train tickets there and back were $100 and the time to arrive is similar to a bus which would be $60+. So there is a little bit of a premium. That's okay. I can afford little luxuries. The concert will be a blast. 



The western view from Mt. Stinson in New Hampshire


My silly photo, I'm kneeling on more rocks below this small bluff



My soon-to-be office space in Wilmington, MA



A view of Lansing, MI, from above


A view from my mom and Brian's house

August Travels

 

Thomas Cole painting at the BMA, painted prior to his famous series on civilization


On a work trip, I spent the last few days in Aberdeen, Maryland, near Baltimore. My company Physical Sciences, Inc. developed an atmospheric water extraction device and since I had a large role in the mechanics, electronics, and testing of the device, I was a prime candidate to unpack, prep, and train a group at the Army Test Center to use the PSI device. The Army Test Center (ATC) operates within the Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), a multi-branch base with an airfield, firing grounds, and soldier training facilities. It is one of the few places in the US where live tank and howitzer ammunition is fired. As I trained staff of the ATC on how to operate the atmospheric water extractor, I would hear booms and feel shockwaves from a mile or two away. I had a good time and met some very interesting people who help make sure the US armed forces use reliable and quality gear. I learned a lot about what features make a good system for field use. I might have to come back down to Maryland if something breaks, so hopefully that doesn't happen. My brother will be shortly on his way back to Fort Stewart near Savannah, GA. He has been spending hours and hours in Germany on special deployment. Hopefully he doesn't have to go back to where he was sent for work either. I'm guessing the Ukraine-Russian war ends in a messy ceasefire with the pre-war borders. It seems to me to be a complete waste of people and resources for some ideologues in the Kremlin. Too unfortunate for the working people of both nations.

I got a rental car for my time near Baltimore. The total cost was > $700 for the whole week! They tacked on a hundred in fees, a hundred for being 24 years old (and not 25), and another hundred in taxes and millages. Rather a lot, I think? I haven't had a conventional rental car before. I used to use ZipCar in the Boston area, but cancelled my subscription after I got my Rav4. 

On the last day of my trip, I visited the Susquehanna State Park, walked part of the Mason-Dixon trail, and saw the Baltimore Museum of Art. All in all a good trip.


Cool table at the BMA

Grist mill by the Susquehanna river. Used to be owned by the family of a dirty union army turncoat

Small tributary of the susquehanna

June Travels

 


June was a good busy month. The weather was mostly nice, I feel productive, and not too many issues. It started off with the belated graduation ceremonies aftermath of many old colleagues getting sick (post the great gatherings), and later ended with a trip to Seattle, Michigan, and then back to Boston. I like to think that things are in balance in my life and I worry about the state of things beyond my tiny bubble. I worry about the nature of the content I read, watch, and listen. I wonder about the targeted advertisements I receive. But in general, life is good. I was in Seattle to visit a subcontractor on a program my company is working on. The company works on a variety of outdoor and expeditionary equipment. I had a good time visiting their facilities and seeing the city. I found the manufacturing aspects of this subcontractor particularly interesting since Physical Sciences is primarily focused on the R&D side of products. I saw staff hard at work on CNC machines, presses, fume hoods, etc. In the city, I visited some friends from college and we got some food and drinks. I was welcomed into the home of a friend and I am very thankful for all their hospitality I received. When I left Seattle I was already quite tired, when I landed in Michigan I hardly made it back to my mom's house before falling asleep. I picked up Ally a few hours later and we enjoyed a short vacation. She helped argue for me to put my work laptop down and I did so most of the time (I did send one email). On the third day in the Midwest, we drove down to Ohio to visit the rollercoaster theme park, Cedar Point. It was a blast and I tried to disassociate on the top of each ride so I wouldn't calculate the odds of a fatality incident as the g-force hit my body. Back in MA, things are back to the routine again for my better health. Travels are great, for some time.


Mom's new puppy Phoebe


Photo of side street in Seattle International District with Mt Rainier off in the distance

Vacation to Montreal and Acadia

 


This past Easter weekend, Ally and I drove from Boston to Montreal for two days and then drove to Acadia National Park for another two days. It was a great vacation and we got a lot of steps under our feet even with 17 hrs of combined driving. The idea of this vacation was rather spontaneous. A few weeks ago, we discussed the idea of going out on a little trip since she had a few days off from work. In the beginning of the conversation, we considered NYC, DC, and more southern cities to get a bit more warmth and sun. However, the idea of visiting a city with a different language and a national park won over those ideas. 

We spent our time in Montreal asking people in cafes if they spoke English; we also visited the Notre Dame cathedral, old Montreal, Mont Royale, the great subway system, and a few public markets as well as an art museum. 

We left late on Sunday and drove straight to a rest stop outside Bangor, Maine. There was a three hour stretch of time where we were in the middle-of-nowhere with deep, thick pine forests all around us. As the sun set over the forests, we saw large mountains off in the distance. At the rest stop we slept in the back of the car and then visited a Denny's in the morning. Following this hearty breakfast, we hiked two mountains at the park (including some rock faces) and we were amazed by the views. The following morning we got up early to summit mount Cadillac at sunrise. We took the north ridge trail up the mountain and it was astounding.

Great trip :)





Vacation in Wales

 


I spent the last two days in Wales MA with good friends. We shared meals, played games, and caught up on each other's personal lives. Not all that long ago we lived together in the same house in Somerville, commiserating about the pandemic, while we transitioned from undergraduate life into new endeavors. This time at a cottage on the lake was a reunion of sorts, like those older days, but with more cozy blankets. I'm glad to have good friends in these folks and look forward to a hopefully periodic chance to meet again and continue conversations and tales throughout the years to come. In the car ride back to Boston, some of us reflected on the reality that making new friends in the era of the pandemic and as young adults is hard. It makes me grateful to know a good bunch of folks.

New weekend's packed as well; a show at the Royale, some time at a recording studio, and a few hours at a research facility. 



We visited Treehouse Brewery and grabbed a few pints while we were out.


Front yard view of the cottage





Two Books and New Years Tacos


I made some pork tacos for New Years Eve. I invited a friend over and we talked about life, the current state of things, and motivations. I put the ABC television broadcast on mute and sat back with some tunes. At one point, after the tacos were put down, we went for a walk about the neighborhood. I did not want to go into a bar that night for a few reasons, one of which being that many of my friends currently have Omicron. I would rather get my steps in, breath the brisk air, and hold conversation with a pal instead of paying $20 for a cuba libre and getting sick. As the clock ticked to midnight, I was playing around with a string of LEDs and a microcontroller. I did some art and fell to sleep.

In the meantime, I read Stoner by John Williams and Anthem by Rand. I endorse the concepts in neither. Stoner is a great read and certainly worthy of the 'great american novel' esc praise I read about it. Anthem was on the bookshelf.


Slow cooker ready. Came out a bit dry at 8 hours. Maybe try pressure cooking next time?




Guinea pigs that I take care of with Ally, The one in front is Juniper. The one in back is Bear.

 

The Winds Blow a Little Colder

  The mushrooms are popping free from the dirt and the temperature has dropped quite a bit these past two weeks. Fall is here and life is go...